What is the Federal Fresh Start Program?

The IRS created The Fresh Start program in early 2011 to help aid struggling taxpayers. They expanded the program in early 2012 to provide even more relief for people who are mired in tax debt. Here are the relief programs offered under the original and the new Federal Fresh Start Program.

Penalty Breaks

Taxpayers who were unemployed for at least a month in 2011 or before April 17, 2012 are exempt from failure-to-pay-penalties as long as they pay their taxes before the federal deadline. Additionally, taxpayers who qualify for this program can get a six-month extension before their taxes are due. The 2012 due date for the extension is October 15. This program is also available to anyone who is self-employed and experienced more than a 25% reduction in income.

Payment Agreements

If you cannot pay your entire tax bill before the federal deadline, you may qualify for an installment agreement that allows you to set-up a payment plan with the IRS. The only conditions are that you can own no more than $50,000 in taxes and you have to allow the IRS to withdraw money from your bank account every month. The penalties are for doing this are lower now, although you will accrue interest. Small businesses are also eligible for an installment agreement if they owe less than $50,000 dollars or they can lower their debt to under the $50,000 threshold.

Offer in Compromise (OIC)

You may actually be able to pay back less tax than you owe under the Fresh Start Program. The IRS determines OIC eligibility based on your income and personal assets. If the IRS feels you can pay your debt in full or with an installment agreement, you will not be eligible for the tax reduction.

Tax Liens

If you do not pay your taxes, the IRS can put a lien on all the property you own. Starting in 2011, the IRS raised the dollar amount of taxes you owe before the file a lien. They also streamlined the lien withdraw process internally so that if you do encounter this problem, you can get the lien withdrawn quicker after you settle your debt. Additionally, if the IRS does put a lien on your property, you can have it removed it you enter into a payment agreement.

Believe it or not, the IRS is not out to get you. If you are having trouble paying your taxes, visit irs.gov. The IRS website is home to volumes of advice on how to deal with your tax problems including the forms you need and even a series of eight YouTube videos on how the IRS handles collection efforts. Do not wait until it is too late, visit the IRS website today and see what kind of help you qualify for.

About the Author: Julio Pasco is a personal consultant who helps his clients with budgeting and day to day tasks. He spends a lot of time looking for discount and coupons for area attractions so that his clients can learn to save while still enjoying life.

Knowing the tax debt solution secrets that your attorney may not disclose

As an increasingly large number of taxpayers in the US are defaulting on their tax payments, they found out that owing money to Uncle Sam can become a significant problem in the long run. For all those people who fall in the low income bracket, tax debt can be easily avoided but if they do, it should be dealt with quickly and smartly. The problem of unpaid tax debt can soon spiral out of control if not addressed properly through the debt solutions that are available for the debtors. While you may get help from a tax attorney during the tax debt negotiation process, you can also take some DIY steps to avoid being charged unnecessary fees and charges. However, there are some secrets that your tax attorney may not want you to know. Read on to know the tax debt relief secrets that can open your eyes and prevent you from paying the tax lawyer to do work that you can do yourself.

The data entry clerks work on the debtor’s delinquent tax case

When a person is drowning in a sea of IRS tax debt and is also receiving harassing debt collection calls, he becomes desperate about paying back the money by getting help of a tax attorney. They think that negotiating delinquent taxes is beyond their ability but the actual fact is that this work is done by the data entry clerks and not by their tax lawyers. That only a tax attorney can resolve tax issues is a wrong notion that most tax debtors harbor. No one will inform you that majority of the paperwork is prepared by the data entry clerks and the so-called ‘tax lawyers’ simply type the data into the IRS form.

The fees charged are based on how much you can pay and how urgent is your case

You may not be aware of this but the fees that your tax attorney charges you are entirely based on the amount that you can pay and the extent of urgency of your tax delinquency case. Your case may be termed as ‘urgent’ if you’re presently facing tax garnishment of your paycheck or have got a verbal threat from an IRS agent. So, only when you’re under the tax levy, your tax attorney will charge you sky-high fees and even demand upfront payment. So, if you want to avoid them, try out the tax debt solutions like OIC or Offer in Compromise on your own.

A tax attorney hardly spends an hour working on your case

When you’re looking for debt relief options to exterminate your IRS tax debt, you should take wise decisions so that wrong steps don’t dig you further into the debt hole when you’re already defaulting. Most debtors can never talk to the actual attorney because this may take double time than what they spend for your case. If you give a glance at the Offer in Compromise paperwork, you’ll understand. The seemingly-complex forms only contain data about your car payments, electricity bills and address, which is the exact information that you provided to the tax debt firm. Do you need a tax lawyer for the data-entry work? Bet you wouldn’t, that too in lieu of heavy charges!

Therefore, when you missed your IRS tax payments and have amassed a huge amount to be paid at once, negotiate with the IRS representatives on your own. Look for worthy tax debt solutions and take the steps on your own to avoid being subject to outrageously high fees from the tax attorneys.

Unusual Tax Deductions You Should Not Claim

More and more people are filing their tax returns with turbo tax and other software so they can try tricking the system. I have never been a person to take a chance as far as tax deductions are concerned. However, some people will gladly take the risk boldly going where most of us would only dare.

The Minnesota Society of Certified Accountants has compiled a list of odd tax deductions according to a survey given to its members. Of course, these were thwarted by their accountants.

Chairwoman Sara Portner says there is a high profitability they would get sent an angry letter from the IRS if a professional had not interfered. If they use turbo tax, the software can not distinguish unusual tax deductions.

Children may get on your nerves but that is off-set by the tax deduction you can claim each year. The deduction can not be claimed for the year unless they are actually born. One woman thought she could claim an unborn baby during the times she was expecting although she put the child up for adoption. Another client thought he should be able to claim a city official because they the salaries.

Someone tried to claim a former spouse.You cannot claim a spouse even if they are not working. According to turbo tax, you may get an exemption that is equal to the you would get for a dependent. Do not try to increase charitable donations. One person believed you could use donated blood as a deduction. Keep in mind you may get audited by the IRS if they are suspicious of your tax deductions.

E-File Tax Returns May Be Slower This Year

Some electronically filed tax returns slow

If you opted to e-file this year, hoping for a quick return, it might take a little longer. The IRS is taking longer to process returns in 2012.

Take the case of Levi Prine, who filed his taxes on February 20th. His return was accepted readily, and it said his refund should be available on March 5th.

The next week, he checked the date again, and it said it was “delayed” until February 28. A delay like that would puzzle anybody, and Prine decided to talk to a real person.

After waiting on the phone dealing with electronic messages and prompts Prine eventually got a real person, who said the IRS was experieincing issues with their processing software.

The problem is being caused because of new security measures aimed at stopping fraud.

The IRS would like to remind everyone that the majority of refunds are given within three weeks. Refunds dates are never an absolute. Many things can come into play that can affect when you get your money.

Money-we don’t take that

When using Gaddie Cleaners, Oscar Lerma was upset when the business refused to take his $20 bill as payment.

Apparently the business had been having trouble with robberies, and having cash on hand was a liability.

It is somewhat unusual, but perfectly within their legal rights to do so.

The store apparently warned most of their regular customers ahead of time. They do accept most major credit credit and debit cards in addition to money orders.

Capital Gains Ignorance Leads To Catastrophic Losses

The IRS regards almost every asset you use or own for business or personal reasons as a capital asset. Such items include your personal residence in addition to any furniture or stocks and bonds held in your own name. Net profit or loss from the sale of such commodities is either a capital gain or loss.

All capital gains must be accurately and fully reported on federal tax returns.

Deductible capital losses are limited to investment property.

Capital gains and losses may be categorized as either “short-term” or “long-term.”

Applicable net capital gain taxes are typically lower than other taxable income rates. Maximum 2001 tax year tax rates for most individuals is 15%. Low-income individuals’ tax liability may be as low as 0 % on all or part of net gain. Special capital gains categories may attract tax liabilities of 25 to 28 percent.

Capital losses which exceed capital gains are deductible to offset other income such as salaries or wages. Annual deductible amounts are limited to $1,500 and $3,000, depending on your filing status.

If net capital losses exceed the allowable annual deductible amounts, you may rollover part of the unclaimed sum by deducting it on the next year’s tax return. The IRS will then regard it as though it was actually incurred during that tax year.

Form 8949 – Sales and Other Capital Asset Dispositions will be required to compute capital losses and gains. Taxpayers must list all details of capital asset disposition on this form and transfer the net figure to Form 1040 Schedule D.